12 August 2011

Movie Challenge Day 1


Ok, I've decided to do the 30 Day Movie Challenge. Each day, you're supposed a post a picture of a movie based on a list. I'm going a step farther. I'm also going to watch each movie and then blog about it. Loads of fun!

Anyway, Day 1 is "Your Favorite Movie." After thinking about it I have to go with:

Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring: Extended Version.

This movie sis my favorite for several reason. Peter Jackson did a great job creating Middle Earth. The locations look real, the detail is astonishing. For instance, Bag End has soot marks, not just over the mantle of the fireplace, but over the candle sconces on the walls. The clothes look worn. One of teh problem with many fantasy movies (Eragon comes to mind) is that everything looks too new, clean and unused. This is true of science fiction as well. Compare the Star Trek universe to the Aliens universe. Which one "feels" real?

PJ has hit criticism for two things that stand out to me in the movie. first, Tom Bombadil is gone. I can understand why, though; in a movie this epic, some things have to be cut otherwise, it would become unenjoyable to watch. The extended version is pushing the limits of watchability as it is. I have no problems with this deletion for that reason. It can be argued that Bombadil highlights one of the features of Middle Earth (i.e., the role of quasi-deities therein), but is it necessary? Probably not.

The other is poor Glorfindel. If you've not read the books, Glorfindel is an elf lord sent out by Elrond to find the hobbits and Strider when they are travelling between Bree and Rivendell. PJ replaced Glorflindel with Arwen. Fanbois seem to take this personally for some reason. First of all, the romance of Aragorn and Arwen is covered in the appendices of LotR. However, added that to the screen broadened the appeal to a wider audience. Heck, even the Bakshi cartoon in the 1970's replaced poor Glorfindel with Legolas.

On to other things. Fellowship is the perfect D&D movie, in my opinion. There is a quest, a dungeon crawl, a big fight. The fight in Balin's tomb reminds me of how chaotic our dungeon crawl melees are supposed to be. We have to pause and go round by round; in reality, that confused melee is what it looks like to the characters: a vicious struggle for life and death.

What really makes this movie King for me is the feelings that it produces. The idea of teh shire, a place where hobbits live in safety and harmony, the children chasing Gandalf shouting for fireworks, the sadness of the Fellowship after Gandlaf "dies," the noble sacrifice and honor shown by all...it all evokes a certain sentimentality in me. I have long believed that this movie was so successful because of 9-11. At the time, our country had suffered a tremendous tragedy and the movie spoke to us about honor and sacrifice. it resonated with us.

I didn't include the entire trilogy in this, and not because I didn't want to watch them all in one sitting, either! The other movies are good, but...PJ starts to diverge from the source more. We get Legolas riding a shield down stairs in Helm's Deep like it';s a boogie board, shooting the arrows the whole way. The battle scenes become even more over the top. the message remains the same, but it gets a touch more Hollywood.

Well, that's all for now, kids. Tomorrow is "the Movie You like the Least." Until then!
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